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Understanding Why Your Online Business Might Be Losing Customers

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One of the hardest parts about running a business is getting customers through the door. This is especially true in the online world where users have access to a sea of competing options.

Therefore, it’s little wonder why e-merchants spend a fortune on search engine optimization (SEO), advertising and social media. But generating traffic is only half the battle. To succeed in e-commerce, you also must be able to keep and convert visitors once they arrive to your site.

If this is something you struggle with, below are some of the most likely reasons why your online business may be losing customers. This article also outlines proven strategies for keeping those visitors on your site for as long as possible.

1. Ugly Website Design

Online customers have a plethora of options, so appearance matters. Users can afford to judge books by their covers. If your site’s design is sloppy or cluttered, there’s little reason for visitors to stick around.

The fix: Invest in a professional-looking site that combines seamless functionality with appealing aesthetics. Pay special attention to the navigation of your website. Visitors should be able to quickly find what they need with as few clicks as possible.

2. Requiring Too Much

What is your annual income? How did you hear about us? What are your hobbies?

It’s not uncommon to see questions like these during the checkout process. The more information you request, the harder it becomes to convert potential customers.

The fix: Eliminate as much friction from the sales process as possible. You can do this by limiting fields to the essentials — i.e., names, billing addresses and payment information. Ask for anything else, and you’re just hurting your sales potential.

3. Hidden Costs

Another way to kill conversions is to surprise customers with hidden costs such as shipping fees, taxes and convenience charges.

The fix: Provide all cost information upfront so there are never any surprises during checkout. One way or another, customers will eventually see the total price — so it’s best to be as transparent as possible, as early in the process as possible.

4. Unappealing Content

Dry copy, syntax errors and grammar mistakes are immediate turnoffs for many potential customers. The same is true of boring stock images and low-quality product photos.

The fix: Invest in professional copywriting and graphic design services to make sure your content is as inviting (and error-free) as possible.

5. Outdated Technology

If customers have to switch browsers, install plug-ins or agree to a bunch of “permissions” to use your website, you’ve already lost the battle. Each one of these steps represents unnecessary friction that will likely chase away users.

The fix: Make sure your site conforms to the latest protocols. If you feature a lot of videos, for example, you should adopt the HTML5 standard so users don’t have to pause their online experience to install plug-ins or add-ons.

6. Lack of Mobile Readiness

Mobile browsing officially surpassed desktop browsing in 2016. In 2018, Google announced it would place greater emphasis on mobile-ready sites in its search results. This means if your website design isn’t compatible with smart devices, you’ll have a much harder time:

  • Attracting users to your online store
  • Converting them once they arrive

The fix: Invest in a responsive web design that looks as good on mobile devices as it does on desktop PCs. In fact, you should devote the majority of your attention to the mobile version of your site since this is where Google and your customers will spend most of their time.

7. Too Many Ads

No one likes ads. Not you. Not your customers. No one. Yet, many online properties are littered with obtrusive banner ads, newsletter opt-ins and annoying pop-ups.

The fix: Keep only those ads that generate revenue. Remove everything else. The less clutter you have on your site, the more enjoyable the user experience and the easier it is to convert fence-sitters into customers.

Tying It All Together

If you’re like most e-merchants, you’re probably guilty of at least one of the above conversion-killing mistakes. That’s perfectly understandable. Online standards continue to evolve so rapidly that it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest best practices.

As an added bonus to this article, here is a free infographic that ties together all of the aforementioned strategies. Keep this reference guide handy as you begin to transform your current site into a sales-generating machine.


Author bio: Matt Wollersheim is Vice President of Sales at Performance Card Service, where his focus is on general marketing, client relations and development of new processing channels. 

Image sources:

Web Design Trends for Success in 2018
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